Until I spent a few hours with the weekend papers today I wasn't aware of the phenomenal rise in popularity of "food blogging" and "online eating". But this weekend, The Weekend Australian Magazine ran not one but two articles on the concept of food blogging, one on page 14 and the other on page 35.http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/weekend-australian-mag
One of the points being raised was not whether everyday restaurant diners can be considered "food critics" but whether there is a new etiquette being written by the food bloggers who use their cameras and take numerous photos of their food, as it arrives at the table and at various times during its transition to removal from the table.
As someone who has anonymously judged restaurants for many years I can't think of anything worse than sitting in a restaurant with my beloved and having camera flashes impede what is often quite flattering light.
I don't mind the concept of people "judging" restaurants and then sharing their views via their blog.
But invading my dining experience with not only camera flashes but loud and sometimes pretentious chatter about the dishes is, I consider, bad manners.
The articles in the magazine quoted various restaurant owners who realised that that the food blogging concept is a very real one which has to be taken into consideration as part of the social media explosion.
Neil Perry from Rockpool is quoted as saying "I find it (diners photographing their meals) quite flattering. And I do it myself."
But perhaps I'm old fashioned. While, I applaud the concept of the blogging wave as a means of self expression and commentary, I don't want it to invade my private space without my invitation.
I enjoy my dining opportunities and if I want a photo of an exquisite dish, I will ask the restaurant management to provide it for me and should they decline for any number of reasons, I will understand and rely on the power of the written/typed word to convey the picture...
I hope the food bloggers will offer the restaurants and their fellow dinners the same courtesy.